Our dive into the what and why behind our two-generation (2Gen) approach continues this week with a focus on policy.

Last week we talked about how the 2Gen approach creates pathways for entire families to move towards economic security. This week, we’re focusing on scaling 2Gen programs into 2Gen policy.

Why Scale 2Gen?

2Gen programs have a deep impact for families. They help families overcome barriers to their goals. Yet many families still encounter complex, systemic barriers that can’t be addressed by programs alone.

Disrupting the cycle of poverty for women and children also requires an intentional expansion into systems change.

This grant cycle, The Women’s Fund is balancing our investments in programmatic work with investments in policy advocacy so more mothers and their children in Alabama are able to move into economic security.

What is 2Gen Policy?

2Gen Policy can be any of the following, each with the goal of strengthening families:

  • Advocating for public policy that strengthens or builds access to one of the 2Gen gears: early childhood education, postsecondary and employment pathways, economic assets, health and well-being, and social capital
  • Collaboration among state human service agencies, workforce development groups, child care centers, businesses, nonprofits, and educational institutions to better deliver services
  • Building data systems that capture whole family outcomes to improve decision-making
  • Braiding funding streams from state agencies, foundations, and corporations to increase capacity


Hi Neighbor: 2Gen Policy Success in Tennessee

In 2011, the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) began its 2Gen journey with a simple question: “Are the people we serve better off because we have been a part of their lives?”

Not being able to answer ‘yes’ with certainty prompted TDHS to completely overhaul their operations using the 2Gen approach.

“What we learned from 2Gen is that you have to focus on the whole family, not just the individual adult or child,” says Danielle Barnes, head of TDHS. “This was not something the Department had focused on before.”

The Tennessee Department of Human Services 2Gen efforts include:

  • Registering children of parents receiving TANF in a college scholarship program and enrolling children receiving Department-administered child care assistance in a free book program
  • Utilizing federal dollars in new ways to provide wrap-around supports for families and to prepare mothers for skilled employment
  • Partnership with a local community college to offer child care payment assistance and mentoring to single parents continuing their education and trainingEducation about 2Gen for TDHS employees working with families


Big systems change requires a strong vision and strong partnerships.

The Women’s Fund is deeply committed to this vision, and with partners like you, we will be a catalyst for 2Gen policy right here in Alabama.

Are you breaking barriers to economic security for women and their children?

We will release our 2019 Request for Proposals (RFP) at the end of this month, welcoming applications from organizations who think creatively and collaboratively about how they can strengthen the economic security of women, especially single mothers and their children, through programming and public policy advocacy.

Join us on a bold journey to create change that lasts for generations and apply for a grant.

Important dates for The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham’s 2019 Grant Cycle:
  • July 27: RFP Released
  • August 8: Grant information sessions at ArchitectureWorks
  • August 31: Application due to The Women’s Fund
  • December: Grant awards announced

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